Pulmonary Rehabilitation

I thought it might be useful to create a page made up from my Facebook posts about pulmonary rehabilitation.  It has been a godsend in getting my health back.  I would recommend it to anyone with respiratory problems.

September 18, 2015 ·
Just got back from my first session of Pulmonary Rehab, It was great! Good thing I enjoyed it, as it is a 45 minute trip there, and the session lasts 2 hours. I go 3 times a week for 3 or 4 wks, then twice a week for 4 weeks. Once it goes to the twice a week schedule – it is only an hour long. Each of the long sessions starts with an education piece to learn how the lungs work, and what can be done to keep them in as good a shape as possible. After that, we did stretching exercises, followed by some time on a piece of equipment. I went on the treadmill and did a half hour without my oxygen level going down. Yay! Of course, that may change if/when I get off prednisone. I was horrified to discover it took me 30 minutes to walk less than a mile. 4 years ago I had got up to a mile in 18 minutes. But – that will be my goal and I will celebrate every improvement in time and distance! Everyone there had COPD and had been smokers. All of them were amazed that I had never smoked because of my never ending “smokers cough”. Sure would like to get rid of it. It is disrupting and embarrassing. Overall – I am delighted that I can actually DO SOMETHING….instead of listening to doctor after doctor tell me they are out of ideas to help.

Sep 21, 2015 3:12pm
WHERE has Pulmonary Rehab been all this time?? I had reached a low point where the doctors had told me they were out of ideas to help me. My PCP had one more thing to offer me – the detox diet. And I had heard about Pulmonary Rehab from personal internet research, and my membership on respiratory forums and Facebook pages. NONE of my docs ever mentioned it – but were willing to give me a referral when I asked them. Those two things – the diet and rehab – are things that I can DO MYSELF. Makes me feel in control, when I was feeling very much out of control. The staff at the rehab center are AWESOME. They make you feel that “yes you can” while measuring your stats and making sure you do not overdo. I am shocked that it takes me a half hour to do a mile, when it used to take only 18 minutes. But I know I am safe to do it. Many there can only manage 6 minutes on the treadmill. The staff can tell when they have reached their limit. But, they add a minute every one or two visits, and those people will surely increase their capacity as time goes on. If you know ANYONE with breathing problems – ask them if they have tried this. There is one participant who is on oxygen, uses a walker, and is 90 years old. The staff checks him carefully throughout the entire hour of exercises – and he is just incredibly motivated. A real inspiration to all of us! The thing is, I am sure many folks will think they would do fine just going to the gym. For people with breathing issues – that is just not safe. They need staff that is extensively trained in many different breathing problems and who know how to modify exercises for every problem. They must be experts in encouraging progress without forcing folks beyond their safe limits. I just don’t think you can find that at the local gym. It took almost 90 minutes for my introductory Interview with a staff member. When she was done, she knew EVERYTHING there was to know about my condition.
I will tell you, my PCP and my 4 specialists (soon to be 5) are going to find out how I feel about the importance of prescribing pulmonary rehab for their patients and not wait to be asked. It is a godsend. Please share this with anyone you know who might benefit!

Day 3 of Pulmonary Rehab. It is just an awesome program. Shows the value of educating patients. Today, during the education piece, we went over all the categories of meds. The instructor had a sample of each one and showed us how to use them. As it turned out – one of the meds was (I think) Spiriva. It requires you to put a capsule in the inhaler, then push a button to break the capsule, and then breathe it in. Turns out one lady had been “using” it for a year – and did not know she was supposed to press that button first. The other one was the same thing – but she had been “using” hers for three years. So – they had been getting NOTHING for all that time! The one lady had even told the doctor that it was not doing her any good. He just ignored her, rather than investigating to see if she was using it properly. Amazing and sad! How many people are out there doing the exact same thing?

Enjoyed another day of pulmonary rehab yesterday. We talked about ways to conserve strength on those days when shortness of breath threatens to overwhelm us. I am hopeful that with all the changes I have made, I can avoid having any more of these episodes – or at least reduce them from every 6-8 weeks. The longest stretch of time I have felt my new version of “good” is 8 weeks in January and February which are the months when I always feel the best, because the air is cold and the ground is frozen. I will feel more confident once I pass the 8 week period and still feel good….especially at this time of the year when my breathing is typically the worst.

The therapists made me slow down my pace yesterday because my heart rate was a bit high. Maybe because I had a mug of strong coffee in the morning? Hopefully I will do better on Friday.
Such a busy week! When I got home we went right over to Mom’s house.  Nancy made a quick trip to NY from NC to visit Aunt Barb. She drove Barb to Mom’s house and we had a great time talking and catching up. Went to Macedon Hills for dinner. It feels SO great to have a normal week. Today I plan to make a huge batch of spaghetti sauce. Don’t know if we will get it canned today – but there is always tomorrow!

Almost at the end of pulmonary rehab. I went yesterday and upped my treadmill time to 40 minutes. Next week I have two more sessions and then I am done. The week after that, I might give the seniors group at the local fitness center a try. The sessions start at 9:30 which is early for me – but not “crack of dawn” early. The only thing is they don’t do any treadmill time, so i would have to stay after for that, which would make for a long morning. We will see how it goes….

Went to my last pulmonary rehab yesterday. Will miss all the great folks. Today I checked the results from the lab test I had on Wednesday. Felt VERY frustrated. My sugar level is 108 … up 16 points from the last one. And I have been SO good. I have been trying to pin down the cause. Since I recently started a new medicine, I researched that. Sure enough…it raises blood sugar. Along with the daily prednisone, that is likely the culprit. Also…I took the prednisone AND the new asthma med right before I went to the lab. That was probably a very dumb move. Will ask my doctor to order another test when I see her next week.

Apr 01, 2016 8:13pm

I can really endorse this article. Pulmonary Rehab is awesome. When you are feeling there is nothing you can do … rehab opens your eyes to all kinds of possibilities. It is particularly helpful in allaying fear of exercise. So much safer than going to the gym. Rehab has respiratory experts. They will be cheerleaders, but will NEVER push you beyond your limits. When i went, there were severaal people in really bad shape…but they were exercising safely, I figured if the 92 year old on 24/7 oxygen could do it…so could I!!